Tag Archives: Parties

Daily Grind Fitness Gig

23 Aug

So today was our first official, non family related gig. It was for the great people at Daily Grind Fitness (www.dailygrindfitness.com). We were asked to provide breakfast and lunch for 30 people during a personal trainer certification session. We arrived and didn’t realize that the gym was on the second floor of the building. We were destined to get our exercise today. After a lot of help carrying things upstairs, we started setting up the tables for breakfast. Here’s what was on the menu:


with strawberry honey butter, herbed cream cheese, and orange cinnamon cream cheese


Lowfat Maple Oatmeal, Lowfat Apple

Almond Poppyseed Scones

Fresh Fruit

Strawberries, Pineapple, with fat free yogurt dip

Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, and Freshly Brewed Coffee

IMG_0761 While the morning seemed to be sailing by, it was not without its bumps. I had ordered bagels at Panera, specifically asking for them to be arranged on a black tray (to match with the color scheme of course!) When I arrived at the bakery they had my order in a large box. Not only was there no tray, but I was told by the manager they stopped using trays years ago. I know it was only a minor set back, but at the time I was frantic. Thank God I had extra serveware at the gym.

Another lesson that we learned was to always have extra tongs/spoons/knifes and just about anything a guest could want, whether or not you were asked to bring it. That means, if coffee is ordered you must have: half and half, sugar, creamer, sweet and low, splenda, equal, skim milk, 2%, decaf, half caf, regular,  regular strong brew, regular weak brew, and a lot of patience. Ok so I’m exaggerating but you would not believe how much coffee we went through!

IMG_0768We rented the plates, linens, mugs and silverware and everything worked out great. I got everything at Taylor Rental and it couldn’t been easier. Everything looked beautiful and seamless. It was actually kind of funny that everyone kept saying how nice the plates were. The clients were the ones that suggested the rentals and although I was a little skeptical at first I think they did add a lot of class to the event.

Before we knew it the event started and Ryan stayed at the gym to maintain the food and make sure there was enough coffee. I ran home to assemble the wraps for lunch. Here’s the lunch menu:

All American Wraps

Turkey wrapped with tomatoes, lettuce, light mayonnaise, cranberries, and sharp cheddar cheese

Niçoise Wraps

Tuna, tomatoes, olive tapenade, hard boiled eggs, spinach, lemon caper dressing

Italian Chopped Salad

Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, roasted red peppers, chickpeas,
Balsamic dressing

Sweet Potato Chips

Sparkling water and Arnold Palmers

(iced tea and lemonade mixed)

IMG_0770By far the biggest hit of lunch was the turkey sandwich. People were surprised by the cranberries. I thought the tuna was really good, but I think I made a marketing error. I put “pan bagnat” on the name card. All that is a Niçoise style tuna, but well, not everyone knows that. Although people ate them, they were no where near the popularity of the turkey. The salad was good. A bit on the boring side for my tastes, but the clients seemed happy. Oh, and my biggest surprise was how well the sweet potato chips were received. Ryan thinks that I’m just used eating them so they don’t seem that different to me, but it was cool to see something so simple make such an impact.

I think the event was really great. I met a lot of people who will hopefully give me a call and want have me cook for them. I’d love to cook for the Daily Grind crew again too. Maybe next time we can shoot for the first floor 😉

Always thinking of the next mealIMG_0765


P.S. if you want to know what a nerd I am look at the timeline I put together for the event. For the record this was the original timeline and we did not stick to it entirely, but it was a good starting point:

5:45 – wake up
6:00 – coffee/breakfast
6:15 – load car
6:40 – leave for gym
7:00ish – Arrive at gym
7:05 – unpack car
7:15 – start set-up
7:30 – pick up bagels at Panera/get ice
7:45 – Continue set up
8:00 – brew coffee/ice beverages
8:15 – put out food


9:30 – go home
10:00 – arrive home
10:05 – assemble salad
10:30 – Assemble wraps
11:00 – Load car
11:15 – leave for gym
11:45 – arrive at gym
11:50 – set up lunch
12:00 – lunch is served
1:00ish – break down and leave


It’s all Greek to me!

26 Jul

So I was asked o bring a salad to my cousins bridal shower. The parameters? WHATEVER I WANTED! The only thing I was my cousin wanted chick peas on the salad. I originally thought about making a Mediterranean salad with roasted red peppers and artichokes, but not knowing the tastes of the masses I thought I would go a little less fancy.

Most people like Greek salad so I thought, why not. When making salad for 30 people the best idea is to keep it simple. A few ingredients that work well together and make a big flavor impact. With Greek salad this is easy to do. As with all salads you want to seek a balance of sweet, salty, soft, crunchy, acid and spice. Greek salad embraces all of these elements.

IMG_0695Here’s how I balanced the flavors in the salad.

Sweet: Sundried Tomatoes

Salty: Feta cheese/olives

Soft: Chick Peas/Feta Cheese

Crunchy: Cucumbers/Onions/lettuce

Acid: Peppers/dressing/tomatoes

Spice: Peppers/arugula

The dressing is also a very powerful element in a salad. For a Greek salad this is where the acid, and herbal notes come into play. The dressing recipe follows, but important flavor components come into play through the dressing. Oregano, lemon, and red wine vinegar are in the dressing and play a key role in Greek cooking. Here’s the dressing recipes:IMG_0697

Greek Dressing

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey

Try this salad out it’s definitely a winner on a hot summer night. Add some grilled chicken or salmon for a little boost of protein.

Always thinking of the meal


Mahjong Party

20 Jul

On Friday I catered my first official event! My aunt and grandma asked me to cater a party for 12 ladies playing Mahjong. The request was that everything was to be eaten with their fingers so they could eat and play, and I was told that the ladies were coming hungry. Because of the origins of the game I choose an Asian themed menu. Here’s what was served:

Crab Rangoon served with Sweet Chili Sauce

Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Asian Nachoes

Crisped wonton skins with chicken, plum sauce, cilantro,

scallions, and fontina cheese

Vegetable tray

snap peas, carrots, cucumbers

Chinese 5 Spice Popcorn

Mahjong Tile Cookies

Carrot Cupcakes

with ginger cream cheese icing

The food took approximately 7 hours to prepare. Each item I chose required a lot of prep and steps. In retrospect, tackling cut and frosted sugar cookies, cupcakes with icing, and spring rolls, all made from scratch (no boxes used here) was a little ambitious. But this was a great lesson. Knowing that my time was only constrained by the arrival of the guest, I was able to accomplish a more than if I had less time. The timing issue (if you can even call it an issue) will now be taken into account before I develop the menu.

So the bottom line? How was the food? Well, it received the best praise any cook could ask for… there was almost nothing left. The favorite was the crab rangoon, a wonton wrapper filled with a crab and cream cheese and dipped in a sweet chili sauce. The next favorite was the Asian Nachos. Toasted wonton skins topped with hoisin glazed chicken breast, fontina cheese, cilantro, and plum sauce. A fun fusion of the comfort and adventure.

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon

Dessert can obviously not go overlooked. Between the cookies and the cupcakes the cookies were the overwhelming favorite. The Chinese lettering proved to be a little bit of a challenge for me, but I think that they turned out great in the end. Below are the event pictures. I’d love to cook for the Mahjong gals again. And hopefully they will be booking another party with me soon.

Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Icing

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Always thinking of the next meal